Circle Post #5
The New York Times review of The Circle describes it as the modern version of George Orwell’s classic 1984 where Big Brother looms over society, however, now it is The Circle. Originally classified as the protagonist of the novel, Mae, determined by The New York Times morphs into almost an antagonistic character by the novel’s conclusion. With her evolution from hero to “villain,” Mae sets her sights on eliminating privacy and intimacy, which inherently become the doomed “heroes” we find ourselves cheering for till the final page. The quote from the Times describes “Mae, then, not a victim but a dull villain” because she has not valiantly fought and destroyed the system as so many heroes do in classic literature, but rather she has become an agent of that very system. Instead of tearing down The Circle, Mae becomes the poster child for joining and completing their mission. In this way she indeed becomes a “dull villain” because there is no dramatic change or climax at the end of the novel, rather the story drops off and picks up weeks later exactly where we expected it to—Mae helping complete The Circle. There was no great revelation or resolution, rather a continuation of plot and conclusion that we had been introduced to early on in the novel—closing The Circle. But, that type of ending almost speaks more to us as readers for it aggravates us and causes us to confront the reality and actuality of something of this nature occurring; it makes us think about the effects of such a world existing and how we may be helpless in our attempts to stop it.
The final book of the novel plays into the message that Egger’s wanted to convey to us because unlike the previous pages, here he switches to classic omniscient 3rd person, and instead of telling the story from the point of view of certain characters and using their direct quotes he eliminates the use of dialogue completely. The entire structure of the novel and indeed most directly the ending, act as metaphors for the lesson we as readers should take away from Eggers—that if we become so interconnected through technology, we will no longer be connected by anything concrete, like thoughts, memories, or dialogue. Throughout the novel, Mae and other characters become less attached to other people and become more involved with their screens and online profiles and thus Eggers begins to eliminate the defining qualities of his characters, especially their direct dialogue. The final three pages lend themselves as an overview of the most recent events at The Circle, but they offer no in depth or personal analysis; they are simply just a summary. It is interesting to point out that the final lines are Mae wondering about what Annie is thinking; would it not be easier to just ask Annie and not worry about the technology involved? Would you not receive the same answer from simple human contact? The novel concludes talking about an individual that is separate from the new dynamic of the world, an outsider; however, Annie is the most human among them for her thoughts are guarded and maintain a level of privacy.